Since the coronavirus pandemic began, face masks have become part of our everyday lives. Many experts recommend wearing masks in public spaces to halt the spread of the virus. For civilians, however, this does not necessarily mean you need a medical-grade face mask. Fabric community masks, often more comfortable, are also sufficient. We offer masks in a number of different designs in our online shop.
Community masks (also called everyday masks, face masks, DIY face coverings) are tailored fabric face masks that are washable and reusable. They are usually made out of several layers of cotton fabric. They are designed to retain fine droplets of saliva and aerosols the wearer releases when talking, coughing or sneezing. These droplets serve as vehicles for pathogens like the coronavirus and can endanger other people. Fabric masks primarily protect others. Since they are not completely impermeable, they offer only insufficient protection against infection to the wearer themselves. However, if large numbers of people regularly wear masks, this can reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.
Community masks are intended for use by private citizens. They are not medical products and are therefore not subject to any legal standards or inspections.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends wearing a mask any time you’re in a public space where it may not be possible to comply with the 1.5-metre social distancing requirements, for example
Depending on the state, it may even be legally required for people to wear masks in certain places. Face masks are particularly important when indoors.
Community or everyday masks are not medical products and are therefore not subject to certification by an independent testing authority. This is not the case with medical-grade protective masks. Depending on their design, these masks may be classified as either a medical product (surgical mask) or personal protective equipment (FFP protective masks) and must meet the legal standards accordingly. Certified, quality controlled medical-grade protective masks are also available for purchase in our online shop.
Although fabric masks do not meet any legal standards, there are significant differences in quality available. Here’s how to spot a good product:
Many fabric masks are made of 100% cotton fabric because it is skin-friendly, breathable and washable. Soft non-woven fabrics made of synthetic fibres like polyamide or polypropylene are also suitable, as long as they can be washed at at least 60° Celsius.
Thicker, tightly woven textiles are more suitable than thinner fabrics, which tend to let more particles through. However, materials that are too stiff do not adapt well to the shape of the face and therefore allow more air to pass through at the sides.
Even though it can make breathing a little more work, at least subjectively speaking, two or three layers of fabric offer better protection than a thin, single-layer mask.
Face masks should fit snugly on the face at the edges to let out as little air as possible through the sides. Some masks feature a wire clip over the bridge of the nose so wearers can adjust the fit more snugly to their own nose.
Stretchy rubber straps have proven the best option for affixing face masks behind the ears or around the back of the head. The straps should never dig into the skin, but should fit snugly enough that the mask doesn’t shift.
Fabric masks should be washable at at least 60° Celsius, preferably 95° Celsius. Only by washing masks at these temperatures can pathogens reliably be killed.
Fabric masks only do their job when wearers follow necessary hygiene measures. The following are particularly important:
Fabric masks only offer effective protection against coronavirus if as many people as possible use them. A wide selection of community masks for everyday use is available in our online shop. You can also buy products that meet the necessary criteria for medical products or personal protective equipment (PPE).
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